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92% of Alumni, 4 Trustees v 12 Trustees

This is breakdown of support in the Dartmouth Association of Alumni lawsuit against the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. One doesn ‘t have to be a Math major to see where the balance lies. A poll of 55,000 alumni by mail (although all could not, of course, be reached) returned the result that 92% of alumni support their right to elect 50% of the Board of Trustees (as do 4 of the elected alumni trustees). These thousands stand against the 12 trustees who would dilute this right. This is what the lawsuit is about.

The question that initially bothered me was, well, I agree with parity but is there really any need for a lawsuit? The more I looked in to the matter the more clearly the answer is yes. The Association of Alumni has attempted to compromise at every stage. But because a few high up people do not like what many alumni have to say, the Board is attempting to take away alumni ‘s right to say it. By diluting the number of alumni-elected trustees, they are attempting to pack the Board and take away the long-standing alumni rights of all Dartmouth men and women.

In 1819 the New Hampshire state legislature attempted to manhandle Dartmouth ‘s charter and impose their imperious will on students, alumni, and the institution. There the trustees of the College sued and, represented by Daniel Webster, the case went before the Supreme Court before which the rights of Dartmouth were unequivocally upheld. Today we are faced with a similar situation. The Board-packing scheme has been challenged in court and, thus far, met with a resounding legal €œNo! € from the court.

In the upcoming Association of Alumni election, alumni have the opportunity to join in protecting the College. The opportunity to say €œNo! € to those who would take away the rights of alumni to determine the direction of our College. The opportunity to say €œYes! € to an optimistic vision of Dartmouth that recognizes how great Dartmouth is today and how it can be still greater in the future. This election is about the opportunity to vote to maintain the right to vote, and to say €œIt is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it! €


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